COVID-19 antibody treatments: What are they?

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FILE – In this May 2020 photo provided by Eli Lilly, a researcher tests possible COVID-19 antibodies in a laboratory in Indianapolis. Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs; they attach to a virus and help it be eliminated. (David Morrison/Eli Lilly via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- As stories of limited or nonexistent COVID-19 vaccines in New York and other states emerge, more focus is being put on antibody treatments. Two antibody treatments have been approved for emergency use in the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms from COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Both are approved for use only in patients considered at high risk of developing serious symptoms from COVID-19, delivered intravenously (IV), considered investigational, and are not a substitute for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines available in the U.S.

Neither Eli Lilly and Company’s bamlanivimab or Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. casirivimab/imdevimab are able to be given to hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients. Patients on high-flow oxygen or a ventilator, administered monoclonal antibodies saw their conditions worsen, according to the FDA’s frequently asked questions about bamlanivimab and casirivimab /imdevimab.

What is a monoclonal antibody treatment?

“Laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses,” according to the FDA.

Bamlanivimab

  • Company: Eli Lilly and Company
  • Approved by Food and Drug Administration for emergency use: November 9, 2020
  • Clinical trial: Involved more than 850 participants.
  • Use: To treat COVID-19 positive patients at risk of developing serious symptoms.
  • Ages: Patients 12 years and older who weigh more than approximately 88 pounds.
  • Delivery system: Intravenous.
  • Dosage: Single infusion of 700 milligrams or more.
  • Side effects: Two patients who participated in the clinical trial experienced serious side effects that required treatment, one had to receive epinephrine. Two to four percent of participants suffered from nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, pruritus (unpleasant skin sensation), and vomiting.

Casirivimab and Imdevimab

  • Company: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Approved by Food and Drug Administration for emergency use: November 21, 2020
  • Clinical trial: Involved 799 participants.
  • Use: To treat COVID-19 positive patients at risk of developing serious symptoms.
  • Ages: Patients 12 years and older who weigh more than approximately 88 pounds.
  • Delivery system: Intravenous.
  • Dosage: Single infusion of 1,200 milligrams of casirivimab and imdevimab, 2,400 milligrams total.
  • Side effects: Can include fever, chills, nausea, headache, bronchospasm, hypotension, angioedema (swelling), throat irritation, rash including urticaria, pruritus, myalgia, or dizziness. Side effects are not limited to those listed, according to the FDA.

High-risk criteria

  • Body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunosuppressive disease
  • Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Are 65 years or older
  • Are ≥55 years or older and have cardiovascular disease, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory diseases
  • Are 12 – 17 years of age and have a BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender-based on CDC growth charts, sickle cell disease, congenital or acquired heart disease, neurodevelopmental disorders like cerebral palsy, medical-related technological dependence like a tracheostomy/gastrostomy, positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19), reactive asthma

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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